13 InvestigatesScam Alert


CONTACT 13: Major mistake leads some to believe they won sweepstakes

Posted at 5:00 PM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2018-11-21 17:46:31-05
Imagine getting a notice that says you've won $10,000.
It happened to a valley woman, and it's not a scam. But it turns out, she may not be getting her cash prize after all. Contact 13 explains.
"This message popped up that said congratulations Cecily Moore you've won $10,000," says Cecily Moore.
A dream come true. Cecily says she got this notice Friday night, after logging into her account with Publishers Clearing House.
"I was excited because I could use that money to take care of my mom," says Cecily.
The next morning she contacted Publishers Clearing House about getting her prize money.
"And then I got a message back that said that they did that in error," says Cecily.
The email says Cecily's name was "...mistakenly included in a winner announcement..."
"I'm just shocked. I'm like really? Are you serious?" says Cecily.
So she reached out to Contact 13 for answers, and we called Publishers Clearing House.
In a statement the company says it was human error, but couldn't say how many people got the false notice.
But they do say "All those who received the erroneous message have been automatically entered into a special drawing..." Only 5 people who got the message will actually get $10,000.
"That's just making me pretty disappointed. Like I cried. I did," says Cecily.
It serves as a good reminder to beware of any email, text, or phone call that says you've won a sweepstakes.
"There are a lot of scammers out there that prey on people," says Rhonda Mettler with the Better Business Bureau.
She says be sure to always confirm any grand prize giveaway. And never pay any upfront fee for your winnings.
"If you've won something, It's free. Bottom line," says Rhonda.
As for Cecily, even after this recent disappointment, she says she's keeping her Publishers Clearing House account.
"I'll still play. I will," says Cecily.
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